Saturday, May 26, 2007

A Blur of Birthdays

Jenny's birthday is tomorrow, and I'm trying to remember 34 years of celebrations past.

She called May her "birthday month" and wanted to go out to dinner as much as possible. In recent years, it was Spettro or Dona Tomas or Cha Cha Cha or TiCouz or Cafe de la Paz.

When we were little, we celebrated with pinatas, treasure hunts, peanut hunts, and cakes with those ballerinas-in-tutus candle holders. We'd play Spanking Machine, Hot Potato, and Strut, Miss Lizzy.

There was the dark year when, in a fit of jealousy, I scratched her "Free to Be You and Me" record that she got for her birthday, reducing "The Helping Song" to "Some kinda help, some kinda help, some kinda help..." I spent years trying to find the replacement LP, which she finally scored at a Friends of the Library sale.

For her sweet 16, I rented out the multipurpose room at our condo complex in Santa Rosa, The Land that Time Forgot, and threw her a surprise party. Ants attacked the cake. Mr. Crutchfield, the grouchy manager, got very anal over Jenny's lovely friends wreaking havoc with the swimming pool rules (had we learned nothing from his response to the shampoo in the jacuzzi incident?).

Nana would cook Jenny a homemade lemon meringue pie, which I found grody.

There were at least a couple of quick Mexico trips as birthday presents. During one, she parasailed over Mazatlan while mamacita drowned her worries in a Coco Loco. We typically enjoyed a birthday repast at El Shrimp Bucket.

We always managed a spring/summer house party in Oakland, usually with the cocktail of the moment (a while back it was Mojitos) and tiki decorations. Steve's artist buddy Jeff Roysden would stay late and wax rhapsodic over current obsessions ("Buffy the Vampire Slayer" or painting rocks), and then we'd send him home with the leftover booze.

One of my favorites might have been the most recent. We hiked to the waterfalls and swam under them. We sat on the sunny rocks and ate white peaches, which was my way of admitting I was wrong in our argument about there no longer being any good peaches in the world.

Jenny loved a party and lots of public attention. She was the type to wear a crown (actually, when she was little, a tiara and a faux fur stole) on her birthday, to broadcast the uniqueness of the day to as many people as possible. Whenever I meet a May 27th Gemini--and I've known a few--I know she is going to be a very punk rock individual. Feliz cumpleanos to my righteous, ass-kicking sister! Nobody is as brave as you were. I know that if you were here right now, we'd be laughing about something.

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